Is Soaking Prayer in the Bible?
Craig von Buseck
CBN.com Contributing Writer
Unfortunately, some Christians today become nervous at the mention of words like ‘soaking prayer’, ‘contemplative prayer’, ‘meditation’, or ‘quietness’ because of their modern association with New Age or occult practices. So it is important to distinguish between the biblical concept of ‘soaking prayer’ and any pagan counterfeits.
As in all doctrinal issues, we can discern between Christian prayer and New Age or occult rituals by looking to the Scriptures.
While the term ‘soaking’ is a new way of referring to contemplative prayer, the Bible has much to say about spending intimate time communing with God. In the Twenty-Third Psalm, King David wrote of the shepherding heart of God who leads us into green pastures and restores our soul.
There are many other Scriptures that refer to these intimate times with our Savior:
Surely I have calmed and quieted my soul, like a weaned child with his mother; Like a weaned child is my soul within me. (Psalm 131:2, NKJV)
Meditate within your heart on your bed, and be still. (Psalm 4:4, NKJV)
Rest in the LORD, and wait patiently for Him. (Psalm 37:7, NKJV)
Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light. (Matthew 11:28-30, NKJV)
But those who wait on the LORD shall renew their strength; They shall mount up with wings like eagles. They shall run and not be weary. They shall walk and not faint. (Isaiah 40:31, NKJV)
Soaking in the presence of the Lord opens up the heart to Divine romance and intimacy. It allows the Lord to show His love to you and you to fall in love with Him. Much as a married couple find that their love and intimacy deepen as they spend more and more time together, so our love for the Lord grows through intimate times of fellowship with Him.
But soaking prayer can also be childlike and playful, like going to visit your best friend and just ‘hanging out’ together.
Soaking prayer is an exercise of resting in God. Jesus called this ‘abiding in Him’.
Abiding in Jesus
Jesus taught His disciples, “I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.” (John 15:5, NKJV)
Abiding in Jesus, which is intimacy with God, is a key to bearing fruit in every area of our lives. We don’t need more of God. We already have the Lord living within us. What we need is less of our selves. As we spend time in the secret place with God, He begins the sanctifying process of dealing with our flesh. The more time we are in God’s presence, the more we become like Him. As we become more like Him, people see the Lord in us and are drawn to Him.
When you are born again, the Holy Spirit dwells within the recesses of your spirit. You are the temple of the Holy Spirit, and He resides in the Holy of Holies within you. Jesus told his disciples:
If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him, and make Our abode with him. (John 14:23, NASB)
Once your heart has been turned inward toward the Lord, you will have a stronger understanding and sense of the presence of the Lord within you. Soaking prayer helps you become sensitive to the Holy Spirit’s indwelling presence in your life. Your attention is no longer on your physical senses or the outward things in your life. Instead, you will be able to notice His presence more acutely as your outward senses become calm and quiet.
Through soaking prayer we enter into God’s rest, as the writer of Hebrews exhorts.
There remains therefore a Sabbath rest for the people of God. For the one who has entered His rest has himself also rested from his works, as God did from His. (Hebrews 4:9-10, NASB)
I have good news! God is no longer angry with you. He loves you absolutely. His wrath was poured out upon Jesus on the cross once and for all time. Through the shed blood of Jesus, believers now have access to their Heavenly Daddy, which allows them to come and sit in His presence.
Your whole outlook on life changes when you recognize that God loves you absolutely. And He likes you! He’s waiting for you to come into His presence – and He enjoys it when you do.
Jesus desires to spend intimate time with you, as the writer of the Song of Solomon describes:
My beloved spoke, and said to me: "Rise up, my love, my fair one, And come away.” (Song of Solomon 2:10, NKJV)
When you realize how much the Lord is enamored with you and desires to woo you, loving Him just happens naturally.
One picture that is helpful for understanding the concept of soaking prayer is that of a sponge. If we put a dry sponge into a bucket of water, the sponge will slowly expand as the water permeates the interior. This is what we experience as we soak in God's presence. The more we soak, the more we become filled with His Spirit.
So dive into the presence of your loving Heavenly Father – and ‘soak up’ all you can!
Read part one in this series: What is Soaking Prayer?
Part three: How to do Soaking Prayer
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More Prayer Resources on Spiritual Life
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More from Craig von Buseck on CBN.com
1. Goll, James. Wasted on Jesus, Chapter 3, Destiny Image Publishers, 2001
2. Murray, Andrew, The Prayer Life, Chapter 3. Online: http://www.worthychristianlibrary.com/the-prayer-life-by-andrew-murray/
3. Brother Lawrence, Practice of the Presence of God, Online: http://www.ccel.org/ccel/lawrence/practice.html
Craig von Buseck is Ministries Director
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